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POETS, COURTESANS, AND MONKS             141

the other hand, if he wrote poems to courtesans, what of it? He was
expected to. He had not taken fancy to any of the professional artists,
and she had heard he had even converted one of the most famous
"courtesans, Chintsao, to become a nun. Chintsao had really remarkable
intelligence, and from poetry to religion was only a short step. He
really should not have quoted Po Chuyi's lines about the end of a
courtesan's life to Chintsao. With her good sense and tact, Mrs. Su
was not going to push her husband into a courtesan's lap the wrong
way. Besides, she knew her husband was a man not to be stopped by
wife or emperor. She did the smart thing—she trusted him.

As daughter of a chinshih scholar, she could read and write, but

she was not an "intellectual".  Instead she cooked the Meichow dishes

and ginger tea that he loved.   And how he needed attention when he

' was ill!   If poet husbands sometimes were unusual, that was their

-privilege. The husband knew there were books to be read, thousands

of them, and the wife knew there was a home to be built, children to

be brought up, a life to be lived.   For that, she was willing to put up

with his famous snore in bed—especially when he was drunk.

Apart from that, he was certainly a curious man for a bedfellow.
She must not disturb him in bed when she lay awake listening to his
snoring. Before he fell asleep, he was fussy about tucking himself in
properly. He would turn about and arrange his body and limbs and
pat the sheet until he was well-placed and nice and cosy. If any part of
his body was stiff or itchy, he would gently rub and massage it. But
after that, order was established. He was going to sleep. He closed his
eyes and "listened'* to his respiration, making sure that it was slow and
even. "And then I lie perfectly still," he said to himself. "Even when
some part of my body itches, I do not make the slightest move, but
overcome it by will-power and concentration. Thus, after a short while,
I feel relaxed and comfortable down to the toes. A state of drowsiness
sets in and I fall into sound sleep."

This really had something to do with religion, Su claims. The
freedom of the soul does depend so much upon the freedom of the
body. Unless one controls one's mind and body, one cannot control
one's soul. This was to be a great part of Su Tungpo's occupation.
After describing his way of sleeping to his two disciples, he continued:
"Try my method, and you will find how good it is, but don't tell it
to everybody. Remember this, wisdom comes from self-control. The
awakening of the divine spark in men and knowledge of buddhahood
begin with self-discipline. No one who does not achieve control of his
mind can ever understand God."

Later Mrs. Su was to discover more variations of her husband's habits
at night and dawn. Combing his hair with a fine comb and taking
a bath were among the important occupations of the poet's life. For